Deferred Action: California Driver’s License Granted

California is now officially the first state to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented youth under Deferred Action.

It has been announced that last night California Governor Jerry Brown finally signed law AB 2189, which was introduced last month, to let California’s DMV issue licenses to Deferred Action recipients.

This is great news for many Californians who through no fault of their own have lived in the United States without lawful status. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released estimates in 2010 that showed that California is the state with the largest population of undocumented people, with approximately 2.6 million. The only other state that comes close to this figure is Texas, with approximately 1.8 million.

Deferred Action is a recent policy by the Obama administration, and it gives undocumented youth, who came to the country before their 16th birthday and who are under the age of 31, relief from deportation and a work authorization for a period of two years. Under the law, recipients are also eligible for driver’s licenses. But California is the only state so far to have approved this aspect of it. Some states have actually barred the benefit.

Many consider not granting driver’s licenses to Deferred Action recipients to be a mistake and hindrance to the advancement of states. California Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, who introduced bill AB 2189, says granting driver’s licenses to undocumented youth will ultimately make the roads safer for everyone. He says he is proud of Governor Brown for putting politics aside and putting public safety first.